Validity Analysis on the Findings of Dehydration in 2 to 24-Month-Old Children With Acute Diarrhea


PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY CARE, vol.37, no.12, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1097/pec.0000000000001980
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: dehydration, diarrhea, findings, validity, CLINICAL SIGNS, SKIN TURGOR, INDEX
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Objective The most common cause of diarrheal mortality in children is dehydration. In this study, we aimed to assess the validity (sensitivity and specificity) of history and the clinical and laboratory findings in in the diagnosis of dehydration in children younger than 2 years with acute diarrhea. Methods One hundred twenty-six 2 to 24-month-old children with acute diarrhea, who were admitted to Hacettepe University Ihsan Dogramaci Children's Hospital's Diarrheal Diseases Treatment and Training Unit, were included. The patients were examined on admission for clinical findings of dehydration. Percent weight loss on admission was calculated by using the weight on admission and the weight after the diarrhea resolution and was used as the golden standard for analyzing the validity of clinical and laboratory findings. Results Compared with the golden standard, dehydration was overestimated in 13% of the cases and underestimated in 7% when using only the World Health Organization criteria. Dehydrated children had higher diarrheal frequency and longer anuria time. Thirst, weakness, sunken fontanelle, sunken eyes, decreased tears, dry mucous membranes, and dry lip were detected in children with 2% or greater of weight loss. The most valid laboratory findings were low serum pH (<7.30), low bicarbonate (<15 mmol/L), and hyperurisemia (>5.8 mg/dL). In multivariate analysis, physical findings, such as thirst, dry mucous membranes, weakness, sunken eyes, hoarse crying, and low pH, were found to be significant for the diagnosis of dehydration. Conclusions In children with acute diarrhea, diarrheal frequency and last urination time should be asked, thirst, dry mucous membranes, weakness, sunken eyes, and hoarse crying should be examined.